Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indy 500 winner and 2000 Indy Racing League champion, grew up in Vail, Colo., where his parents built, managed and lived in the Tivoli Lodge. Buddy skied almost daily from age 2 and was an Olympic hopeful at 18 when he decided to pursue college and motorsports instead. He still lives in Vail with his wife, Kara, and his two-year-old son, Flinn, and skis 40 days a season. He grew up as a skier and still loves the sport today.
Born To Speed On Halloween morning in 1967, Bob Lazier and his pregnant wife, Diane, jumped in their Corvette and started a race from Vail to a Denver hospital. The engine blew over Loveland Pass, but the hitchhikers were soon picked up by an OB nurse headed for work. Buddy was born as the car pulled into the hospital parking lot. "My dad says it was the first engine he ever blew. He still blames it on me. Wants me to pay for it."
Race Roots "Skiing has helped me in so many ways. It taught me how not to scrub speed in the turns. It taught me visualization and determination. All the ski racing and physical conditioning that I've done has probably saved my life. It's also helped me recover from injury, like when I broke my back in 38 places in a crash."
Bottom Line "You get paid so much better as a race driver than a skier, so I can support my family this way." (His bonus for winning the IRL title last year was $1 million, and he has more than $6 million in IRL career earnings, a figure that doesn't include endorsements and other deals.)
Danger Zone "The consequences of a mistake in motor racing are large, and we're racing for two to three hours. In ski racing you're only racing for 60 to 90 seconds."
Ski Family "The ski industry has been very good to us. I love the family atmosphere of the sport. I was born and raised on the mountain, and now I'm blessed to raise my son on the mountain. He started skiing at 22 months."